Southwest Veterans Community Thoughts On Memorial Day
As America prepares to celebrate another Memorial Day, the same national dichotomy appears to be emerging. It consists of those who understand the true meaning of Memorial Day and give it the reverence it deserves and those who can not wait to celebrate another three-day weekend, the beginning of summer, a day on the lake, or beer and barbecue. Those who have lost loved ones in the service of their country and Veterans who have served with those we lost believe that “every day should be Memorial Day.”
To be sure, two years of the COVID pandemic forced celebrations to be toned down and many cases eliminated. Whether you are watching or participating in a parade, laying a wreath at a Veteran’s grave, or celebrating the true meaning of Memorial Day in your own private way, we thank you for embracing the true meaning of Memorial Day—and for remembering those who deserve our honor.
If it is not already on your schedule, we urge you to watch the annual Memorial Day Concert. It will be shown on PBS at 5:00 pm Arizona time on Sunday May 29th. You can record it and watch it at your leisure.
For the 2022 Memorial Day, we ask you to also remember another group of Veterans we have lost—those who survived the war but lost the battle with the demons and emotional injuries that accompanied them home from their war. We are talking about the national tragedy of Veteran suicides. For Arizonans, the problem is particularly acute. Arizona now has the fifth highest Veteran suicide rate in the country. Last year both the number of Veteran suicides and the rate per 100,000 declined nationally, but both increased in Arizona.
The Southwest Veterans Foundation developed a Veteran Suicide Prevention Fund and so far has provided $22,000 in grants to local non-profit organizations battling on the front lines of the suicide war, and has another $8,000 pending award. They will continue this program in 2022 and beyond. If you would like to support the Southwest Veterans Suicide Prevention campaign you can do so at any SWVCC event, on the website at https://swvcc.org/savealife or by calling 602.677.2961
Whatever your plans are for the Memorial Day weekend, please do it safely, and carve out some time for the true meaning of Memorial Day—to remember and honor the brave men and women who have died in the service of their Country. Let us also reach out to the families of those we honor and embrace them on this special day.